A photograph of Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg has been archived at the Library of Congress in Washington.
The dramatic black-and-white image by photographer Shane Balkowitsch shows Thunberg at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation during her trip to the U.S. in October. Balkowitsch created the photograph using a more than 150-year-old photography method called “wet plate collodion,” which involves wetting a glass plate with chemicals before inserting it into a camera to create an image.
Balkowitsch spoke to the Bismarck Tribune, where he called the photograph, titled “Standing for Us All,” his “most important work to date.”
The image has been shared across at least 15 publications and has garnered more than 1 million likes on social media, according to the Tribune. Now visitors at the Library of Congress can request to view the glass plate the image is printed on.
Thunberg shared the photograph on her Twitter account Nov. 13, the day she left North America on a zero-emission boat to sail back to Europe. She visited the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in South Dakota on Oct. 8, where she spoke to students at Standing Rock High School.
Balkowitsch told the Tribune that he heard about Thunberg’s visit through Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members. He has been using the same method of wet plate collodion to capture 1,000 Native American people as part of a 15-year-long project. Balkowitsch told the Tribune he had had just a few minutes to capture Thunberg’s photograph because her schedule had changed.
The 16-year-old climate activist’s visit was met with both praise and contempt. Her scathing Sept. 23 speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York went viral.
“You’re failing us, but young people are starting to understand your betrayal,” she said. “The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.”
A Twitter user had shared the video with a comment, calling Thunberg an “actress.” President Donald Trump retweeted the post, praising the user for mocking the teen.
Keep up the great work Kellie! https://t.co/PcAnK009EW
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 3, 2019
Trump, who had briefly shown up to the summit, also retweeted the video with the facetious caption, “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”
As a sarcastic response, Thunberg changed her Twitter bio to “a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”
Regardless of the criticism Thunberg has faced, she has emboldened young people across the world to protest for climate action.
“I want to thank all the people who I’ve met I North America for their incredible hospitality,” Thunberg tweeted along with the photograph. “And thank you all for your amazing support!”
I want to thank all the people who I’ve met I North America for their incredible hospitality. And thank you all for your amazing support!
(This wet plate photo was taken by Shane Balkowitsch on Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota.) pic.twitter.com/ZFAEqM5RPZ
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) November 13, 2019
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